Calton Athletic is a Scottish football club for men recovering from addiction
8th January 2020 by Will Stewart
MadeGood – Please tell me a bit about yourselves as film makers, is this film about Calton Athletic a typical example of the sort of work you make? How do you know each other, and what is your working relationship?
Jonnie Lewis – I actually met Euan back in 2013 while he was shooting a stills campaign in Edinburgh. A friend of mine worked at the agency behind the campaign and she got me along to shoot some behind-the-scenes content of the stills and TVC shoot.
We did an interview with Euan about the campaign and when I finished the BTS edit, I sent it across to him to check out.
We have very similar interests and opinions when it comes to what makes a nice film, so decided to go out and shoot some projects together.
Euan typically directs/produces our projects while I shoot/edit them but there is a good level of crossover between our skill sets which help us work together as a good double act. Euan’s stills background helps me out from a visual point of view while my moving image background helps Euan from a narrative point of view.
We both love telling real stories about real people but that’s about as restrictive as we get – the content so far has been a mix of arts, sports and wildlife but we’re open to making films about anything with a captivating story.
MadeGood – Tell me a bit more about Calton Athletic as a rehabilitative organisation. How did you hear about them, and what made you want to make a film about them?
Jonnie Lewis – A few years after Euan and I met, I ended up shooting the EPK content for T2 Trainspotting while it was filming in Scotland in 2016. Euan had heard a Radio 4 documentary about Calton Athletic who were the recovery group that Danny Boyle and the cast of the first Trainspotting film visited to understand their roles in the run up to the shoot. We thought the story of these people would be an interesting one to tell alongside the T2 Trainspotting release to show the reality of addiction alongside how it appears in Hollywood.
Euan contacted Calton Athletic and we went along to meet the guys at one of their weekly meetings on a Tuesday evening. We introduced ourselves and explained what we’d like to do, but went to about 7 or 8 of their weekly meetings before we actually filmed anything so that we could get to know the guys before we started waving a camera around.
Each week that we visited the group, a different person would sit at the ‘top table’ and tell the room about their trouble with addiction in great detail – the rest of the guys would then stand up individually and feed back to them, starting by introducing themselves and stating that they were a recovering addict before speaking briefly about themselves and how they were doing in their recovery.
Listening to the guys at Calton Athletic wear their hearts on their sleeves was inspiring, and their ability to recount their weaknesses and troubles to a room full of people was truly moving.
We decided that we wanted viewers of the film to feel like they were sitting in on one of the Tuesday meetings, so didn’t shoot an interview in the conventional sense, rather asked individuals from the group to recount their ‘top table’ story directly into the lens of the camera.
MadeGood – I’ve featured quite a lot of films on this blog that are about sporting groups or teams that provide a place of support for people that are otherwise struggling. What do you think it is that sport offers to people? Speaking specifically, what impressions, anecdotes otherwise did you take away from your time getting to know the men at Calton Athletic?
Jonnie Lewis – The guys at Calton Athletic use sport as a means of distraction – diverting their attention away from their negative addictions. They regularly run half marathons, marathons, and in the time that we were filming were actually training to hike Mount Everest.
Training gives you a goal, whether it’s a first time achievement, a victory in a league, or a personal best. Besides the health benefits, it focuses your mind on something in a way that helps you forget about other temptations.
I know Euan will probably have some input here as far as anecdotes from the club goes?
MadeGood – This film was made a little while back, what sort of response did it receive- both from people watching the film and from the team members themselves? Are you still in contact with them now, do you know how they’re getting on?
Jonnie Lewis – When we finished the film, the first people we showed were the members of the club at one of their Tuesday meetings. It’s a sensitive subject matter, so we wanted to be sure that the members of the club felt like they had been accurately portrayed and were happy with how they appeared in the film.
The response was extremely positive which was a huge relief as the whole club had put a lot of time and effort into being available to appear in the film. The group then went on to post the film publicly on their Facebook page which received an amazing response from people who know of the work that the organisation do. With any luck it hopefully also encouraged more people struggling with addiction to reconsider their future.
Because of my connection with T2 Trainspotting through the EPK shoot, we were lucky enough to be able to put our short film in front of the Producer, Andrew MacDonald. After chatting about it with him on the phone, we were able to include it as an extra on the DVD and BluRay release of the film which was an amazing way of getting it in front of a few more viewers.
The original intention was always to make a longer form version of this film that went into more detail about the people at the club and told a longer success story but time and lack of funding in between our schedules made it difficult to go much further than the short form version. But it’s something that we would still like to pursue given the opportunity!
MadeGood – What are you working on next?
Jonnie Lewis – We’re always chatting about various different ideas for projects that take a different route to our previous work, but time will tell…!